New technologies to arrive next semester

“As you add books to your library it puts them on the shelf,” Phil Komarny, executive director of Computer Information and Technology, said as he demonstrated using the new Apple iPad. As he flicked his fingers across the screen, the iPad electronically turned the page just as a real book’s page would. Komarny continued his demonstration in his office by tapping on a single word in Winnie the Pooh, which comes standard with Apple’s iBooks application, to show the book’s ability to provide dictionary definitions for every word on every page.

Seton Hill University (SHU) made international headlines with President JoAnne Boyle’s announcement concerning SHU’s new technology protocols for fall 2010. On Tues., March 30, President Boyle informed the packed Cecilian Hall that in addition to the MacBooks being distributed to all incoming freshmen, every full-time student will receive an Apple iPad.

According to Komarny, SHU will distribute iPads to not just undergraduate students but both graduate and Adult Degree Program (ADP) students as well. “And any transfers 29 credits or less will receive an iPad and a MacBook,” he said. From next year on, all incoming freshmen will obtain MacBooks in order to phase in the new technology over the next several years.

Komarny, executive director of Computer Information and Technology, also explained that next year’s sophomores and juniors have the opportunity to enroll in the MacBook program. Seniors cannot enroll because students must be at SHU for four full semesters in order to take the laptop with them when they graduate.

Students who opt in next year will pay an extra $200 per semester for four semesters.

“The people who are going to be juniors next year are really going to be able to benefit the most from it. The tech fee you’re going to pay over the next four semesters is basically less money than you would pay for the devices that you’re going to get, plus all the software that you’re going to get,” Komarny added.

The new MacBooks and iPads are not the primary reason for increased tech fees, according to Komarny. Most of the increase is due to the new wireless network built over the summer.

“[The iPad]’s really a game changer. I was so glad to see when it came out,” Komarny said.

iPad users can download several different applications for their eBooks via the App Store in iTunes including iPhone applications as well. Although some books have six-month contract, but there might be a way to purchase eBooks permanently.

Although there are several applications for books, the iPad will not only be used for electronic textbooks. One of the features with the iPad and our wireless network allows the iPad to work as a phone in place of the phones in the dorm rooms on campus. “That’s why we’ve invested all this money in this infrastructure that no one else can see,” Komarny said. “We spent $1.5 million last summer just to make this network be able to accept things like that.”

Students will receive the 16 gigabyte wi-fi iPad next fall. “It’s just so new, but I’m glad we have the ability to grow with it. It’s good to have it here and I think that everybody’s going to find a way to take advantage of it,” Komarny said.

In the upcoming weeks, current students will be able to opt into the MacBook program on Griffin’s Lair, and more information will be available concerning how the program works as well as how much it will cost each student.